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article imageTop VR game developer cancels new productions, lays off 100

By James Walker     Nov 1, 2017 in Technology
CCP Games, maker of some of the biggest virtual reality games, has announced it's pulling out of the market so it can focus on PC-based titles. The decision casts further doubt on the future of the VR gaming industry which has had a sluggish start.
The Icelandic developer is best known as the creator of the massive online sci-fi game EVE Online. The company has also attracted attention for its work in virtual reality, becoming one of the first studios to make major investments in the technology.
Its spaceship dog-fighting game EVE Valkyrie was one of the prototype titles for the Oculus Rift. It's regularly used as an example of what's possible in VR gaming. CCP has also been developing games for PlayStation VR, including its new title Sparc launched back in September.
CCP isn't entirely pulling away from virtual reality. It said it will continue to support its existing games and the VR ecosystem. However, the company said it will not make any "material investments" in the tech until it sees "market conditions that justify" them.
The announcement may prove to be a major setback for the future of VR gaming. The concept has struggled to attract interest outside a small community of committed followers. Headset sales are thought to be dwindling as most players who want one have already made a purchase. CCP said it intends to focus on its more successful PC and mobile titles, bowing to pressure placed on it by its fans.
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In an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun earlier this year, CCP's VR Brand Director Ryan Geddes admitted many gamers are sceptical of the technology. Geddes said "it wasn't hard to find the VR doubters" during the company's own EVE fanfest event, conceding many in CCP's community "had no interest" in the studio's VR games.
CCP said it will shuttering its studios in Atlanta and Newcastle. Up to 100 people will lose their positions as a consequence of the consolidation. The company will be left with three active operating locations , of which only one – in London – will be used for tentative VR development. CCP's Shanghai studio will also be refocused around local partnerships in China.
CCP said it retains a "strong" belief in the "long-term transformative power" of virtual reality. It seems as though the time for the technology to go mainstream still hasn't arrived, despite years of anticipation, hype and technical development.
Many commentators are now ready to chalk this cycle of VR down as a failure, leaving it to go the way of 3D TVs and other over-hyped consumer technologies. Apparently, real reality is good enough after all.
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